Monday, September 22, 2008

High Cholesterol — What To Do About It

You have no doubt heard that high cholesterol is a global problem. It is a common disorder in all countries with bad nutrition habits. High cholesterol can cause heart attacks or strokes, and yet people don't do anything about it.

Regular Check Ups
When you turn 18 you should go to a doctor on a regular basis to get a check on your cholesterol level. When is the last time YOU got that checked?

You should get it checked at least every other year, and if you have other problems, such as observing sudden changes in pulse pressure or blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor to check your cholesterol also.

Research Your Options
You may want to check what options you have and you will want to learn a little more about cholesterol before you get it tested.

First, you need to learn a little about cholesterol levels and what they tell you about your health. There are normally three different cholesterol readings that your doctor takes to review your health.

  • When it comes to the good cholesterol or HDL you will want this level to be above 40 or higher.
  • On the other hand, LDL cholesterol, commonly called “bad cholesterol” should be kept lower, at 130 for those in good health with no family history of heart attacks or stroke and at 100 or lower if your family does have a history of heart attacks or stroke.
  • When it comes to your cholesterol report, you may want to ask about all the other numbers that may be included, but your cholesterol numbers are the most important ones to monitor.

Home Testing — An Option, But Perhaps Not the Best...
You should also know that most home testing kits will only give you a total cholesterol reading. This number should be under 200 and includes not only HDL and LDL numbers, but other considerations as well. You may end up suffering from high LDL and low HDL, but you may have a completely comfortable cholesterol level.

These home testing kits can prove to be somewhat misleading. Some self-testing kits are now adding other reading options to make this process easier, but if you aren’t knowledgeable about the many different kinds of cholesterol, this can be confusing.

You will want to make sure that you follow all of the directions of the specific self-testing kit you have bought very carefully. If you are the least bit in doubt seek medical guidance instead of relying upon any self-test kit.

You will have to prick your finger to test your cholesterol level, but then again, if blood makes your squeamish, you can always find a person who can help you.
These kits could never replace a regular doctor’s visit. You will want to make an appointment with your doctor if you are uncertain about your cholesterol levels or if you think that it might be at an unhealthy level.

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